Alec C. Covington, 43, has been promoted executive vice president and president and chief operating officer, food distribution companies at Minneapolis-based SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE: SVU). Covington served as president and chief operating officer of the Richfood Holdings, Inc. distribution companies, prior to the acquisition of Richfood by SUPERVALU last year. Most recently Covington was president of the Richfood region of SUPERVALU. Covington joined Richmond, Virginia-based Richfood in October 1995 as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Richfood's distribution business. He succeeds Jeff Noddle, who was promoted SUPERVALU corporate president and chief operating officer last June.

"Alec has a proven track record of managing some of the industry's most efficient distribution operations at Richfood, a $4 billion regional food distributor and retailer," said Noddle. "His energy and unrelenting commitment to industry leading logistics make Alec ideally suited to lead this core SUPERVALU business."

Covington stated, "My goal is to maximize to the fullest extent SUPERVALU's technology driven distribution infrastructure by serving an ever-widening array of customers both within and outside the traditional supermarket arena. As the nation's leading food distributor we intend to be the provider of choice, following grocery products across multiple retail channels."

Gary Zimmerman, currently president of SUPERVALU's Northern region, will step into Covington's spot at the Richfood region. He draws upon a 40-year career of excellence in customer service and retailer growth, combining leadership in food distribution and retailing. Zimmerman joined SUPERVALU's Green Bay division in 1980, following 20 years in retail management. He was named president of the Minneapolis division in 1987, before his promotion to Northern region president in 1995, consistently one of the company's highest growth operations and home to many of the country's premier independent retailers and chains.

SUPERVALU's national food distribution business is comprised of 38 distribution centers supplying 3,300 primary customers and secondary supplier to approximately 2,500 stores, including 1,350 Kmart stores. SUPERVALU is a fast-growing supermarket retailer currently holding the 10th largest position in the industry and is this nation's largest food distributor to grocery retailers.